Ecuador & Galapagos Holiday

Ecuador & Galapagos

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Ecuador & Galapagos Holiday

Ecuador's capital city Quito's striking ‘Old Town’ is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets replete with colonial houses and baroque churches. The Andean corridor of the Avenue of Volcanoes is a verdant valley dramatically flanked by spectacular snow-capped peaks. The Otavalo Valley dominated by Koatacotkie volcano, consists of beautiful mountains. Its quiet provincial towns may have only a few attractions but its surrounds provide great walks to the nearby lakes or weaving villages. 

Cruise-based excursions to the Galapagos Islands offer various options and styles. Each day, tour different islands with an expert naturalist, and get close to giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and other iconic Galapagos wildlife. See the cycle of life up close, which depending on the season, might include mating rituals, newborns feeding, territorial squabbles, and more. Snorkel among sea turtles, playful sea lions and schools of brightly colored fish. 

TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 10-DAY TOUR OF ECUADOR & GALAPAGOS…
And, experience Galapagos wildlife and delicious Ecuadorian cuisine.
 

What We Love
  • In Quito, stay at the luxurious boutique Casa Gangotena hotel. 
  • Cruise to Galapagos on the Mega-Catamaran ‘Ocean Spray’ in luxury and style.
  • Stay in the classic Hacienda Zuleta in the Andean mountains 
  • Experience nature and wildlife and enjoy delicious Ecuadorian cuisine.
  • Activities include trekking, horseback riding, biking, bird watching and more.
  • This tour is designed to provide maximum outdoor experience.
What to Know
  • This is a medium active tour and may include walking on rough terrains.
  • You will be in a small group during the cruise in Galapagos. 
  • We carefully select the world's best boutique tour companies in each destination.
  • Around the clock support in each destination during your trip. 
  • This tour is in high demand and we suggest that you book in advance.
  • We strongly recommend that you take travel insurance for this holiday.
 

Review

Begin in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, one of South America’s best-preserved colonial cities. Explore the lavishly decorated monasteries with rich interiors, that are pure examples of the 'Baroque school of Quito', which is a fusion of Spanish, Italian, Moorish, Flemish and indigenous art. The beautiful Quito town abounds with chic hotels, contemporary restaurants and cool bars.

Next, spend five days exploring the Galapagos Islands—a dream destination for nature lovers—on one of our preferred expedition cruises. Each day, tour different islands with an expert naturalist, and get close to giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and other iconic Galapagos wildlife. Most exciting for visitors is the lack of fear and even curiosity with which the Galápagos animals typically regard humans. This means visitors can get up close and personal without them scurrying off. Some 95 percent of the islands' pre-human biodiversity remains intact—a remarkable figure. But even this paradise hasn’t remained totally pristine.

Return to mainland Ecuador and spend two nights at a historic hacienda in the beautiful Otavalo region, a bucolic highland landscape of rolling hills, farms and indigenous villages beneath snow-capped volcanic peaks.

The Otavalo Valley landscape, dominated by Koatacotkie volcano, consists of beautiful mountains and valleys, which lies close to 9000 feet. Otavalo is a quiet provincial town with only a few landmarks and attractions but those who like to explore can take walks to the nearby lakes or weaving villages.

Return to Quito for a final night before your return or onward flight.

How to get there

Ecuador: There are no direct flights to Ecuador from Britain and Ireland, but there are plenty of indirect flights to both Quito and Guayaquil involving a change of plane in either a European or American city. The US airlines fly via their respective hubs. Approximate flying times from the US to Quito without stops are four hours from Miami, and around five hours from Houston and Atlanta.

Iberia and Air Comet offer services via Madrid, and KLM via Amsterdam (stopping at Bonaire, in the Dutch Antilles). Other possibilities include taking a flight to South American hubs, such as Bogotá or Caracas, from where connections to Ecuador can be made. Typical journey times are between fifteen and seventeen hours, with Iberia and American Airlines offering marginally faster services.

Galapagos: There are daily flights to Galapagos from Quito and Guayaquil. Our ground staff will offer assistance with the check in procedure and help with payment of park tax and transit card. The airline allows one checked suitcase (maximum 44 lbs.) and one carry-on bag per passenger.

We recommend that all passengers travelling to Galapagos consider two nights in mainland Ecuador prior to their cruise to allow for potential flight delays and misconnection.  This is particularly important for passengers travelling over winter holidays when flights tend to be overbooked and/or delayed caused by poor weather conditions.
 

 
Ecuador & Galapagos Holiday Ecuador & Galapagos

Ecuador & Galapagos Highlights

Quito, Galapagos Islands (5-day cruise), Otavalo Valley
(10 Days – Travel Any Day)


Day 1 – Arrive
Quito On arrival in Buenos Aires you will VIP airport assistance and private transfer to your chosen hotel for a two-night stay.  
Overnight: Hotel of your choice
Recommended: Casa Gangotena.

Day 2 – Private Touring
Quito Full-day private touring: With your private local guide, tour the city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with Spanish colonial-era architecture. Explore interesting back streets, hidden courtyards and churches with spectacular interiors. Visit the best museums, traditional workshops, markets and other sites according to your interests. Perhaps also shop for a high-quality Panama hat—an Ecuador original.
Overnight: Hotel of your choice
Recommended: Casa Gangotena (B)

Day 3 – Transfer
Galapagos Islands Private airport transfer to the airport for your flight to Galapagos Islands for a 5-day cruise. On arrival VIP service and transfer aboard your cruise.
Overnight: Cruise of your choice
Recommended: Ocean Spray (B. L, D)

Days 4-6 – Explore
Galapagos Islands Cruise-based excursions and activities: Explore the Galapagos Islands—a dream destination for nature lovers—on one of our preferred expedition cruises. Each day, tour different islands with an expert naturalist, and get close to giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and other iconic Galapagos wildlife. See the cycle of life up close, which depending on the season, might include mating rituals, newborns feeding, territorial squabbles, and more. Snorkel among sea turtles, playful sea lions and schools of brightly colored fish. Upon request, we arrange private yacht charters, SCUBA diving and other options in the Galapagos.
Overnight: Cruise of your choice
Recommended: Ocean Spray (B. L, D)

Day 7 – Transfer
Quito/ Otavalo Valley Transfer and flight to Quito. Meet and greet on arrival and private transfer to hacienda. Spend two nights at a historic hacienda in the beautiful Otavalo region, a bucolic highland landscape of rolling hills, farms and indigenous villages beneath snow-capped volcanic peaks.
Overnight: Hotel of your choice
Recommended: Hacienda da Zuleta (B. L, D)

Day 8 – Private Touring
Otavalo Valley Full-day privately guided activities on site and in environs. Visit local indigenous food and craft markets, and stop by select workshops to meet artisans and shop for high-quality handwoven wool textiles, delicate embroidery, leather goods, and other traditional and modern crafts. Dine on special meals at private haciendas and estates. If desired, also enjoy privately guided horseback riding, hiking or mountain biking on private land and through the rural countryside.
Overnight: Hotel of your choice
Recommended: Hacienda da Zuleta (B. L, D)

Day 9 – Cultural Tour
Quito Private touring and flexible shopping in local villages and environs. Lunch at hacienda or private estate en route to Quito for 1 night
Overnight: Hotel of your choice
Recommended: Casa Gangotena (B)

Day 10 – Depart
Quito Private airport transfer to the airport for your connecting flight (B)
 

 

Recommended price

  • 5-star: From GBP 300 per person per day
  • 4-star: From GBP 250 per person per day
  • 3-star: From GBP 200 per person per day

The true price is customised based on final choice of hotels, travel dates, and other custom preferences. All prices exclude international flights.

Price Includes: hotels, airport transfers and transportation within the country, unique experiences guided by local experts and 24X7 support during your trip.

Make this your holiday

  • Exclusive Tour: your own private multilingual guide throughout the trip  
  • Price Guarantee: costing 25-30% less than similar tours of the same flexibility and quality
  • Tailor Made: customised itinerary to create your dream holiday
  • Duration: shorten or lengthen the tour to suit your wishes
  • Dates: depart and return whenever you choose
  • Hotels: change hotel grade to suit your budget
  • Group Discounts: call 020 8350 6199


General Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, yet despite its size, it holds one of the greatest amounts of plant and animal species in the world. It is home to rain forests, jungles, mountains, islands, deserts, valleys, and snowcapped peaks. One of its main attractions is the Galapagos Archipelago and its marine reserve, which contain endemic species unique to the area.

With more bird species per area than any other country in Latin America, Ecuador is a paradise for bird watching and research. Some 17% of the world's endemic species are found here making it the densest bird population in the world.

Where to go Cotopaxi is the second highest summit in Ecuador, reaching a height of just below 6,000 mtrs. Its snow covered peak is clearly visible from Quito. Cotopaxi is also one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, although its present activity is limited to a few steam fumaroles.

Take a short train journey between the towns of Sibambe and Alausi. A series of switchbacks along the way makes it possible for the train to slowly climb the steep ascent to Alausi and offer visitors sweeping panoramic views of the countryside. But the astounding engineering project undertaken in the rugged Andes mountains was completed at a high cost human lives that gave its name the “Devil’s Nose”.

Situated in the Amazon rainforest region of Ecuador, for tourists, Tena serves as a launching point for jungle adventures. The Tena River joins with the Masahualli River, and then with the Napo River, a tributary of the Amazon. Adventure enthusiasts cite Tena as one of the best places in the world for whitewater rafting and kayaking.

The colonial city of Cuenca is the third largest in Ecuador, popular for its year-round temperate climate. The New Cathedral of Cuenca, built over a century, is the city’s most-recognizable landmark. With a façade crafted from alabaster and marble, the New Cathedral is most notable for the its three immense domes, each covered in blue glazed tiles.

When to go The Galapagos have a surprisingly cool, sub-tropical climate. The coastal areas are arid and covered with plants adapted to desert conditions.  The highland areas receive moisture almost all year round, which support lush vegetation.  Temperatures are determined almost entirely by ocean currents, which are influenced by the trade winds.

There are two seasons, both of which have some precipitation. Galapagos gets an average of ten inches of rain per year, it is never considered “rainy”. During the months of December to May, the cooling currents subside, temperatures rise and the climate is warm and sunny with occasional showers. In June, the trend begins toward cooler temperatures with moderate breezes, which continue through November. This period is referred to as the “garua” season, meaning mist in Spanish.

Visa UK nationals can visit Ecuador without a visa, but you may be asked about your reason for travel and to provide evidence of a return or onward flight/bus ticket when you arrive. On arrival in the country, you’ll normally be allowed to remain in Ecuador for up to 90 days per year.

Passport validity: Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry; this is a strict legal requirement from the Ecuadorean government. Without this minimum validity entry to the country will be denied.

Visa information source: www.gov.uk